Veterans call for justice for Agent Orange victims in Vietnam
“It is important to raise awareness in the United States about the Agent Orange (AO) problem and to seek justice particularly for the Vietnamese victims,” said an American veteran in an interview with Viet Nam News Agency.
David Cline, National coordinator of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, told the reporter that the US Department of Veteran Affairs tried to deny the Agent Orange problem until 1991, and so it has been difficult to assess the magnitute of the crime.
In some cases, David Cline said, “the effects have been seen in victims representing three generations – which means it is not something that is going to go away when a certain generation dies.”
Sedgwick D. Tourison, Jr., another US veteran who served in Viet Nam during 1961-1963, 1965-1967 and in Laos from 1971-1974, said that he’s ready to sign in support of the Vietnamese AO victims lawsuit to ask the US chemical companies to take responsibility for victim compensation.
“When I was in Viet Nam, I had contact with Agent Orange. Back home in the US, about 30 years later I got diabetes. I consider myself a lucky one as I only contracted diabetes. But my feet have begun to ache, my toes are sore and I know it’s time to get back to see my doctor. My children were born normal, but my middle son, conceived in Viet Nam, has chronic asthma, among other ailments.”…
Frank Corcoran, a US veteran in Viet Nam in 1968, said that the veterans – whether US or Vietnamese – should be compensated. “I strongly support the Vietnamese victims. I am suffering from Agent Orange-related prostate cancer, and I was compensated by the US government only three yeas ago. I have re-visited Viet Nam with a group of US veterans two times – in 1993 and 2002. We plan to raise funds and try to gain access to national legislators to find support for compensation to Vietnamese victims. The local US veterans should work together to get this,” he stressed.
Asantewaa Nkrumah-Ture, staff member of the Washington Peace Center, said she was very concerned about the lingering effects of the Agent Orange on human beings. “It’s too bad that the US government used chemical weapons in the war in Viet Nam. People in the US and all around the world should support the Vietnamese victims and should fight against the use of the chemical weapons anywhere and for any reason.”
Meanwhile, Blane Manchester, US Coast Guard veteran (1970-1990), now an agricultural biologist, stressed that he supports the idea of compensation for the Vietnamese AO victims.
He added that the war was 30 years ago, so the US public needs to be made more aware of the long-lasting effects of AO on human beings. “It doesn’t matter whether they are US or Vietnamese veterans, those who were contaminated have the right to ask for compensation,” he said.
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